Ger­many set to steam­roll tiny San Marino

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

WORLD CHAM­PI­ONS Ger­many face min­nows San Marino in a 2018 World Cup qual­i­fier with a true David verses Go­liath match-up.

Ger­many take on fel­low Euro­pean pow­er­houses Italy in Mi­lan next Tues­day in a friendly, their last in­ter­na­tional of the year, but be­fore the Az­zurri, the Ger­mans look des­tined to clinch three more qual­i­fy­ing points against tiny San Marino.

The land­locked moun­tain­ous mi­crostate in North Italy has a pop­u­la­tion of just 33,400 and it’s foot­ball team is ranked 199 places below sec­ond-placed Ger­many by foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body FIFA.

De­spite a mount­ing in­jury list, any­thing less than a con­vinc­ing win would be un­ac­cept­able to the four­time World Cup win­ners.

Ger­many top Group C with a per­fect record of nine points from three wins, eight goals scored and zero con­ceded.

At the bot­tom of the ta­ble, San Marino’s part-timers have lost all three games, con­ced­ing nine goals and scor­ing just once, when Mat­tia Ste­fanelli net­ted in last month’s 4-1 de­feat in Nor­way to be nick­named ‘The Leg­end’.

“It was a great feel­ing to score a goal for my na­tional team, I dreamed about do­ing it since I was a kid,” said the 23- year-old, who net­ted San Marino’s first goal in a World Cup qual­i­fier since 2001.

The qual­i­fier will be played at Ser­ravalle’s Sta­dio Olimpico, which has a ca­pac­ity of just 7,000, where Ger­many beat San Marino 13-0 in 2006 – an away record for die Mannschaft – and Ste­fanelli can ex­pect few chances. “Noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble,” he said. “We will have to fight un­til the last minute to hope for an op­por­tu­nity.

“It’s some­thing unique and a great op­por­tu­nity to face the world cham­pi­ons, we have to en­joy it.”

Pre­vi­ous re­sults sug­gest a tough night for the hosts. – AFP

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